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Being a Freelance Hairstylist: Pros & Cons

All the latest from DaySmart to you


Written by Andrea Miller

The life of a freelance hairstylist can be trying, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with some great benefits. The beauty industry is changing rapidly to adapt to consumer habits. It’s becoming more and more common for clients to forge personal relationships with their stylists.

These relationships are extremely beneficial for clients because they can expect a predictable standard whenever they visit their stylist. There are many reasons for a freelance hairstylist to not be tethered to a single salon or beauty brand.

What Is a Freelance Hairstylist? 

Freelance hairstylists work on their own, they’re self-employed and do their job independently.

There are a couple of ways they can choose to work: the place of work can be from home, they can be mobile and visit clients in their homes, or they can rent a chair in a salon.

Yes, being a freelance hairstylist doesn’t necessarily mean that you wouldn’t work from a salon, although many do as being truly freelance comes with many benefits. Let’s see what those are.

The Benefits of Being a Freelance Hairstylist

Flexibility

As a freelance hairstylist, you can work whenever you want. This is especially valuable for those with other responsibilities. If you have children at home, you don’t want to have to work long hours away from them just to pay the rent. You may also have other professional commitments that could warrant your time. Set your own hours and prices with your clients, and adjust them whenever necessary.

You are also in charge of how many clients you take on at once. You can work however little or as much as you want while reaping the benefits of more meaningful interactions. You’ll also be able to work wherever you want, provided there is a chair available for you to work from. Want to be closer to home? Contact salons in your area. Because you’ll be working for yourself, you don’t have to confine your search to who’s hiring.

Ownership of Business Operations

Traditional beauty professionals work out of salons and parlors. Some of these establishments have strict rules and guidelines when it comes to wages, workplace conduct, and what you can and cannot wear. When you freelance, you can decide the best way to market your business. You can decide which clients you take on and which you don’t. Being in charge of business operations comes with a lot of responsibility, but much of the stress of having to adhere to unfavorable restrictions is taken away.

You can also control the services you offer. Do you want to be known as a hair maintenance specialist or stylist? Maybe you want to offer as wide a range of services as possible. You might even be a hair color specialist. It’s all up to you. As long as the chair you are renting is available, you’ll be able to run it any way you want.

Lower Start-Up Costs

Besides the cost of renting your chair and your equipment, there are very few business expenses associated with freelancing. If you were to start your own establishment, you would have to worry about building costs, paying employees, insurance, and many other cost-related anxieties. You may not even have to have a sizable marketing budget. There are many websites that allow freelancers to market their services. You can even find clients in your community through social media. Because of the low initial costs, you are likely to at least break even after only a few clients. You’ll be able to start earning money right away.

More Profit

The amount of money you make is also likely to be much higher, especially in the long run. After your expenses, all you have to do is pay yourself. Freelancing is just like owning a small business, except as an independent contractor, you are able to keep a higher percentage of the profits. Although the amount of money you make is directly correlated to the number of clients you have on a daily basis, you are able to make more money per hour spent with them.

As a full-time employee at a traditional salon, you are confined to a set wage per hour. Your earning potential is far less than as a freelancer, even after tips. You also have the opportunity to take advantage of numerous tax incentives as a freelancer. Any of the costs associated with running your business can be written off come tax season. Once you get your business up and running, make sure you consult with a financial professional to find out what deductions you qualify for.

Lasting Connections

The most important benefit to being a freelance hairstylist is the personal relationships you will be able to have with your clients. They will begin to trust you with their look, ensuring long-term loyalty. This loyalty often translates to customer referrals and valuable word-of-mouth marketing that traditional salon employees cannot get. If you can prove you are a reliable beauty professional, people will associate your services with quality.

People desire connections with their beauty professionals because aesthetics are important. If they are going to put their beauty in someone else’s hands, they want to make sure they will leave an appointment looking better than when they came in. This is the greatest advantage that freelancers have over salon employees. If your customers value your service, you will be able to build a successful brand. The more connections you build, the more your services will be in demand, and the more money you will make.

Ultimate Freedom

Once your freelance beauty business starts to take off, you will have the freedom to take on higher-profile clients. This bolsters your reputation in the industry while increasing your earning potential. The more influential your clients are, the more you will be able to charge. You are the master of your client’s experience. Pamper them as much as you would like, and make sure that they feel welcome.

Furthermore, the freedom that comes with being a business owner cannot be understated. Choose your own methods, and build your business toward a profit the way you want to. Do you want to market your services toward a specific niche? Do you want to be known for being able to achieve a specific look? Becoming a freelance hairstylist allows you to experiment with your brand.

Eventually, you’ll be the freelance hairstylist that you always strived to be, and working in a traditional environment might just weigh you down. Once you get your business off the ground, managing your operations can be confusing.

The Challenges of Being a Freelance Hairstylist

Fewer interactions with coworkers

If you enjoy the daily chit-chat with your coworkers, being a freelance hairstylist might not be the perfect choice for you. Working alone can be daunting for some, but there are ways to connect with like-minded people in your business outside of a salon. 

You can visit events where the best of your profession gathers or if you’re lucky enough to make true connections through social media, you can meet your fellow hairstylists in real life to discuss the latest trends over a coffee.

And if your business really goes well, you can ever hire other freelancers to join you. 

Dealing with operations and administration 

If you go freelance, you’ll be responsible for every bit of your business. You will need to do all the administrative tasks, get the supplies, book the clients, pay any occurring fees, and the list goes on.

All this is not impossible, of course. All you need is good organization skills and a couple of tools to build into your everyday operations, such as a good salon software that will take care of most of the “office work” and let you get back to your handy scissors.

Getting new clients 

Finding new people to sit in your chair is now fully your job, as well, if you choose to be a freelance hairstylist.

There are many strategies you can use to do this even if you do not own a salon. To be honest: it is where it gets the most exciting. Make sure to gather all the tips you can to build your clientele before day one!

Go freelance with DaySmart

DaySmart is an award-winning salon software with all the features you wish for as a freelance hairstylist. It’s going to help you book clients, monitor your business performance, and do payment processing easily, among many other features.

Click here for more information on how our software can help you manage your freelance hairstylist business!